Seroprevalence of Herpes Simplex Virus Types 1 and 2--United States, 1999-2010

J Infect Dis. 2014 Feb 1;209(3):325-33. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jit458. Epub 2013 Oct 16.

Abstract

Background: Herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2) are common infections with serious sequelae. HSV-1 is an increasingly important cause of genital herpes in industrialized countries.

Methods: Using nationally representative data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), we examined HSV-1 and HSV-2 seroprevalence among 14- to 49-year-olds in the United States. We estimated seroprevalence in 1999-2004 and 2005-2010, stratified by sociodemographic characteristics and sexual behaviors. We also reviewed HSV-1 and HSV-2 seroprevalence from 1976-1980 to 2005-2010.

Results: In 2005-2010, the seroprevalence of HSV-1 was 53.9%, and the seroprevalence of HSV-2 was 15.7%. From 1999-2004 to 2005-2010, HSV-1 seroprevalence declined by nearly 7% (P < .01), but HSV-2 seroprevalence did not change significantly. The largest decline in HSV-1 seroprevalence from 1999-2004 to 2005-2010 was observed among adolescents aged 14-19 years, among whom seroprevalence declined by nearly 23%, from 39.0% to 30.1% (P < .01). In this age group, HSV-1 seroprevalence declined >29% from 1976-1980 to 2005-2010 (P < .01).

Conclusions: An increasing number of adolescents lack HSV-1 antibodies at sexual debut. In the absence of declines in HSV-2 infections, the prevalence of genital herpes may increase.

Keywords: HSV-1; HSV-2; NHANES; adolescents; genital herpes; herpes simplex virus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Female
  • Herpes Genitalis / epidemiology*
  • Herpes Simplex / epidemiology*
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human / immunology*
  • Herpesvirus 2, Human / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • Antibodies, Viral